|Somali women put their foot down on the new Constitution|
2 July 2010, Djibouti - Somali women intent to use every opportunity the new Constitution offers them to increase their political representation.
A day after the Independent Federal Constitution Commission presented its progress on the Consultation Draft Constitution in Djibouti, the commissioners invited Somali South Central Non State Actors, (SOSCENSA), Saferworld and COSPE//IIDA and the Somali Women’s Agenda to share their thoughts on how to go about the civic education and public consultation campaign.
In particular the women present at the meeting were very vocal about their role and place in the future institutions of Somalia. They requested to play a part in every nomination or election and to include a quota for the representation of women in the institutions included in the Constitution. They demanded that a woman be selected as a second chairperson in every political party and to have equal opportunities in the recruitment for public service and governmental institutions.
The public consultation on the draft constitution, which will run parallel to a large scale civic education campaign from August to November, will feed into a final draft of the constitution, which the IFCC needs to finalize in December 2010. The NGOS stressed that the consultation will be hampered by tight timelines, poor infrastructure in some parts of Somalia and illiteracy. The IFFC underlined that the people of Somalia will have to address difficult questions during this consultation such as federalism, system of government (presidential versus parliamentary), human rights, gender, Shari’ah, sharing of natural resources and the status of Mogadishu.
The Consultation Draft Constitution is a major milestone in the Constitution-building process. Underlying each of the Commission’s proposals is the ambition to establish a just, federal, Shari’ah compliant State based on the separation of powers, good governance, constitutionalism and respect for the rule of law. The draft document is expected to be made available to the public early August.
UNDP Somalia has been leading a consortium for the Somali Constitution Making Support project for the past 18 months, to support the IFFC in every step of developing an inclusive constitution-making process. The project is funded by the European Commission, USAID, as well as the governments of Denmark, Italy and Norway.